How Much Does Pool Liner Replacement Cost?
Is your pool liner leaking? Does it have holes and tears? Pool liner replacement costs range from $1,000 to $5,000, with the national average at $2,327.
- Typical Range: $1,000 to $5,000
- National Average: $2,327
Pool liners are an important part of above-ground and inground pools that aren’t made from waterproof materials, such as fiberglass, concrete, or gunite. A liner ensures the water stays in the pool and prevents mold and mildew growth. A pool liner can bulge and tear with age, which can cause leaks. According to Angi and HomeAdvisor, pool liner replacement can range from $1,000 to $5,000, with homeowners spending $2,327 on average. If a liner needs a simple patch, it can cost as little as $350, or it can range upward to $5,000 for a full replacement. Pool liners are usually made from vinyl, but fiberglass liners are another option, although they’re harder to reproduce. Some significant factors that influence pool liner replacement cost are whether the pool is an above-ground or inground pool, the size of the pool, and the thickness of the pool liner material. Here, we’ll explore the factors in calculating pool liner replacement costs, telltale signs regarding when a pool liner needs to be replaced, and important questions to ask a professional about pool liner replacement.
Factors in Calculating Pool Liner Replacement Cost
How much is a new pool liner? That depends on several factors. Prices can differ from the national average because of the thickness and design of the liner material, labor costs, costs related to draining and refilling the pool, geographic location, the season, and the pool type, size, and shape.
When estimating new pool liner cost, it’s important to note that the differences in pricing for above-ground pools and inground pools can be significant. Above-ground pool liner cost ranges from $100 to $600 for materials, plus $250 to $800 for installation. Inground pool liners cost between $700 and $1,500 for materials, with installation costs of $1,000 to $2,500. These prices can vary depending on liner material thickness and pool size and shape.
Pool Size and Shape
Replacing a liner in a larger pool will cost more than it would for a smaller pool. Pool liner replacement costs are typically less expensive for pools that have standard oval or rectangular shapes as opposed to those that are kidney-shaped or L-shaped.
Above-ground vinyl pool liners usually come in three different types:
- Overlap liners. Typically the least expensive liner option, overlap liners are the easiest to install. This type of liner is draped over the entire pool, and clamps are used to keep it in place. Overlap liners rarely last as long as other liner options.
- Unibead liners. This versatile liner option creates a seamless look. Using a J-hook, it clips to the top of the pool wall.
- Beaded liners. These liners have a groove that will snap into a track along the top of the pool wall. These liners are considered easy to replace and repair.
Liner Thickness and Design
Pool liners are measured in mils. A mil is not a millimeter as the name might suggest; 1 mil equals 1/1,000th of an inch. A standard pool liner is 20 mil thick and typically lasts for 10 to 12 years. It’s recommended to use a 28-mil-thick pool liner for pools that see heavy use. A thicker liner can cost $300 to $400 more, but it will last much longer than a thinner option. A thicker pool liner is less likely to rip or puncture, and it can camouflage an uneven pool floor. Vinyl pool liner replacement cost is also directly affected by the design of the liner. A liner with a solid color is typically less expensive than a liner that features a patterned design. Darker colors are also harder and more expensive to repair.
Some pool companies will provide an estimate that includes the price of labor and materials with the overall replacement cost. If they charge for labor separately, it can run from $30 to $50 per hour. The average labor cost to replace an inground pool liner runs from $1,000 to $2,500, and the labor to install an above-ground pool liner ranges from $250 to $800.
Draining and Refilling
In order to replace a pool liner, the pool first needs to be drained. If a professional drains the pool, it can cost between $500 and $700. If city water is used to refill the pool, it can run from $60 to $120 on average.
Another important factor that affects the cost to replace vinyl pool liners is geographic location. The price of the liner, materials, and labor are usually more expensive in densely populated urban or suburban areas compared to more rural areas.
Pool professionals experience their busiest times during the spring and summer months, and they may charge more for their services during those times. Homeowners should also expect to wait longer for pool liner replacement during the busy months. To acquire more business during their slower months, pool professionals may charge significantly less during these times.
Additional Costs and Considerations
When budgeting for pool liner replacement costs, it’s important to know about any additional costs and considerations that may affect the overall price. These can include whether the pool liner needs to be replaced or if a repair will fix the problem.
Repair vs. Replacement
Hiring a professional to repair a vinyl pool liner can range in cost depending on the extent of the damage, pool type, materials, and labor. The average price of repairs can run from $100 to $350 or as high as $1,700 for more extensive repairs. For minor repairs, homeowners can also opt for DIY patch kits that cost between $20 and $50. Some pool liners can be repaired rather than replaced. Here are some of the most common pool liner repairs and the average cost for each.
- Leaks. Depending on the severity of the leak, a repair can cost up to $2,500. If the repair price is that high, many homeowners will choose to replace the liner.
Tears, snags, and holes. Patching holes can run from $100 to $500.
- Wrinkles. Pool liner wrinkles are common with improper installation, extreme temperatures, incorrect chemical balance, or a sudden decrease in water level. Repairing wrinkles can cost from $100 to $250, but if they’re significant, the liner may need to be reinstalled.
- Sun damage. A pool liner can be damaged by UV rays and when the temperature is above 80 degrees. To protect against sun damage, cover the pool during the day when it’s not being used. It can cost approximately $530 per 150 feet to repair sun damage above the waterline.
- Bulges. Wintertime groundwater freeze-thaw cycles and subflooring shifts can cause bulges in the pool liner. Some options to repair a liner bulge are to pump out the water from behind the bulge or drain the pool and cut out the bulged section of the liner. For significant bulge issues, a liner replacement may be necessary.
- Bead replacement. If a bead cannot be pushed back into place in the track, it will cost from $130 to $300 for a new bead.
- Floor damage. Repairing floor damage to an above-ground pool is an extensive process. The pool needs to be drained, and a professional needs to determine whether the leak is coming from the liner or the pool structure. Once the leak is located, the pricing is determined by the cause of the problem.
Types of Pool Liners
How much is a pool liner? Above-ground and inground pool liner replacement cost is affected by the type of liner used for the pool as well as the type of pool.
Above-ground vinyl pool liners usually run from $100 to $600, with installation costs between $250 to $800 on average. For an inground pool, a vinyl liner replacement ranges from $700 to $1,500 for materials and an additional $1,000 to $2,500 for installation.
An alternative to vinyl pool liners, fiberglass is long lasting, durable, and resists mold and mildew growth. Depending on the shape and size of the pool, homeowners can expect to pay from $1,400 to $4,800 for a fiberglass liner. Minor repairs to a fiberglass liner can average approximately $650.
Another option is to install a fiberglass pool, although these come with a higher installation cost than a vinyl-lined inground pool. Fiberglass pools use less electricity and can even increase the resale value of a home.
Do I Need Pool Liner Replacement?
Pool liners typically last from 5 to 10 years, with some lasting as long as 15 to 20 years, depending on usage and maintenance. Sometimes a repair is the best choice to prolong the life of the liner, but there are telltale signs when a liner needs to be replaced. If homeowners notice any of the following issues with a pool liner, there’s a good chance a new liner is needed. Waiting too long to replace a pool liner can cause expensive pool floor and wall damage as well as deck deterioration from water erosion.
Minor leaks can usually be repaired, but severe leaks can cause damage to the pool subfloor, which can cause it to crack. A cracked subfloor will need to be redone. Leaks can also cause the metal walls to rust, which will affect the structural integrity of the pool.
Dry or Brittle Liner
As a pool liner gets older, it can become brittle and crack. Newer liners can be easily repaired, but if the material is dry and fragile, it becomes difficult to repair and a new liner is the only option.
Large Holes or Tears
Large holes or tears in the soft vinyl material are more difficult to repair than smaller ones. If the hole is too big to be repaired, a full pool liner replacement is needed.
The incorrect chemical pH in the water can cause the pool liner to wrinkle and break down faster than usual, which will result in the need for liner replacement sooner than expected.
Staining or Discoloration
Staining or discoloration of a pool liner occurs when it’s exposed to harmful UV rays and when the pool chemicals aren’t properly balanced. Algae growth and rust can also discolor and stain the liner and are difficult to remove. When this happens, some homeowners opt to replace the liner for aesthetic reasons.
Loss of Shape
A pool liner can stretch out and lose its shape as it gets older. Bumps, wrinkling, and the liner popping out of its track can happen when the liner stretches out. If the liner keeps coming out of its track, water can leak behind the liner and cause issues with the structure of the pool.
A pool liner that’s improperly installed can wrinkle or cause damage to the bead tracks. If the liner doesn’t lay against the floor and walls correctly, it can rip and cause extensive damage.
Pool Liner Replacement: DIY vs. Hiring a Professional
If a homeowner has experience with pool liner repairs or if it’s a quick fix above the waterline, a DIY repair may be the way to go. Keep in mind that incorrect liner installation can lead to wrinkles and tears, which will cost even more money to repair or replace. While hiring a pool professional to install a pool liner is more expensive than a DIY project, keep in mind that a professional has the experience to install a liner correctly. Some pool liner companies will also void the warranty if it’s installed as a DIY project. If you’re unsure of the exact problem, don’t have the experience, or need a full liner replacement, hire a pro. A professional will know how to deal with any problem that arises during the installation process, and they can make the pool look like new.
How to Save Money on Pool Liner Replacement Cost
Budgeting for pool liner replacement costs can be challenging, and the additional fees associated with the project can quickly add up. Here are a few ways to save money without compromising on quality.
- Get multiple quotes. Get at least three quotes from reputable pool professionals in your area.
- Choose a plain liner. A liner with a patterned design or a deep color is much more expensive than a traditional sky-blue liner.
- Be flexible. Pool companies are busiest during the spring and early summer months. If you can schedule a pool liner replacement during their slow time, you may be able to save money.
- Be proactive. Cover the pool when it’s not in use, keep the chemical levels balanced, and repair small tears as quickly as possible. Regular maintenance can prevent large problems.
- Get a high-quality liner. While it will result in higher up-front costs, a high-quality liner will last longer and be more resistant to tears.
- Establish a regular cleaning routine. Removing debris and cleaning the pool regularly to remove sunscreen residue and algae buildup can extend the life of the pool liner.
Questions to Ask About Pool Liner Replacement
Asking a pool professional the right questions about pool liner replacement can minimize miscommunication and help homeowners find the right professional for the job. Here are some questions to ask your pool professional.
- How many years have you been in business?
- How much does it cost to replace a pool liner?
- Are you insured?
- Will you provide references?
- Does the estimate include labor?
- How long will it take to install the pool liner?
- Who will install the liner?
- Can the existing liner be repaired?
- Are you a member of the Association of Pool and Spa Professionals (APSP)?
- Do you have workers’ compensation insurance?
- What type of warranty do you offer on your work?
The process of replacing a pool liner can result in multiple questions. Here are a few frequently asked questions about pool liner replacement to help homeowners find the best professional for the job.
Q. How long does a pool liner last?
Pool liners typically last between 5 and 10 years, although some can last 15 to 20 years.
Q. What’s the most popular pool liner color?
A deep-blue liner is the most popular, although light blue is another popular option since it doesn’t readily show signs of fading.
Q. Is a lighter or darker vinyl color better for a pool liner?
One isn’t necessarily better than the other, and the choice comes down to preference. Some advantages of a darker color are that it hides imperfections and dirt, it absorbs heat better, and it can save on energy costs. A lighter liner color can result in a cooler water temperature, create a beachy vibe, and can be printed with a darker pattern for more contrast.
Q. Why does my pool liner keep slipping?
Pool liners can slip if the bead track opens up, which can happen with water pressure or an aging liner.
Q. Can I put a new pool liner over an old one?
It is not recommended to put a new liner over an old one since it can cause more problems. If there are holes and tears in the old liner, it can cause structural damage to the pool when water gets in between the two layers. Since it’s common to refinish the pool floor when replacing the liner, that can’t be done if the old liner is left in place.
Sources: Angi, HomeAdvisor, HomeGuide, YardSharing